A set of percussion musical instruments produces different sounds and is driven by a person who uses sticks and pedals. Typically, the components are located in front or on both sides of the drummer (the player), who is sitting down in a chair and can play up to four drums at the same time. A drum set includes drums in different sizes (big, small, tom, snare), which are cylindrical shaped boxes with two membranes (with action and resonance), as well as cymbals, which are metallic discs generating higher sounds.

The constituent instruments of a drum set have been used individually for centuries, but in 1909 the brothers William and Theobald Ludwig patented the first commercial pedal bass system, which was the historic gear that launched the innovation of the drum set operated by a single percussionist and transformed drumming forever.

As music has evolved during the years, the number of elements in a drum set has grown, and preferences for certain dimensions and settings have been developed. Now, a percussion set can be defined according to several elements, including favorite musical style, construction or number of components included.

snare drum

What is a snare drum?

One of the components of a drum set is the snare drum, also known as side drum. It is at the center of an acoustic drum set and assists the bass in creating the rhythm, providing backbeat accents, especially useful in rock music. It does not mean that the snare drum is specific to this music genre. Actually, it can also be found in marching bands, parades and orchestras, due to its energetic sound. This type of drum is played with a drum stick; the drummer creates noise by hitting the head, rim, or shell.

How to buy a snare drum

Aspects to take into account include:

  • Materials

The case can be made of mahogany, maple, birch, poplar, rosewood, but also MDF or plastic (which are the cheapest versions).

The mahogany is softer and resonates very well. The maple is more balanced in terms of hardness and tone, having a higher elevation than the mahogany, and bringing out warmer sounds. This makes it very popular for acoustic drums. The birch creates drums with a larger volume in live sessions, as it has a superior hardness and delivers sharp sounds. Poplar is an affordable and balanced option, used primarily in creating beginner drum kits.

The plastic and MDF options have lower prices, but the sound quality is not that good. These drums are mostly suited for children, as they have a good resistance to scratches and shocks.

  • Membrane

The membrane is the base of the drum, which extends over the casing. The current options include plastic or animal skin.  The latter provides a fuller sound, but requires special maintenance to avoid losing its elasticity; on the other hand, plastic membranes are very easy to clean.

  • Brand

There are well-known brands for percussion instruments that produce quality and durable models. The names you can rely on include Yamaha, Tama, Gear4Music, Pearl, Gretsch or Mapex.